Home of the old samurais
Kakunodate Travel Blog› entry 20 of 52 › view all entries
I get up and try to get to the early train for the next city to catch the connecting shinkansen - unfortunately I was held up a bit by a traffic light which meant I could not catch my train which left just a few seconds before I got to the right platform on the station. Hence I had to wait for a later train going down back on the road I came from yesterday. It is a bit of a detour I am planning - but that is one of the wonders of having a JR rail pass - you get unlimited travel for free hence day tripping to far away cities are a real option - which is enhanced by the fact that most of the trains in Japan travel at pretty high average speeds.
I get to my destination the small city Kanunodate - which is not smaller than it is actually on the shinkansen line - unfortunately this particular line is not the fastest of the shinkansen lines - as far as I can tell it is a single track rail line which mean the train actually have to stop to let the trains coming from the opposite direction pass. This puts a significant damper on the top speed of the train and we roll along slowly - at least for a shinkansen.
When I get to the station I get into the tourist information - it is quite amazing just how many tourist information’s there are spread around all over Japan. And they all seem to have a English map with the main sights of the area - and generally they got at least one person speaking at least a little bit of English - they might only have the same person though so in case of several foreign tourist in front of you - you will just have to wait patiently until the English speaking staffer is free to help you.
I get my map and I wonder down to the centre of town. In the old days the city was home to a wealthy community and there were a big samurai area in town housing the local warriors. Many of the houses have been preserved to this day and you can visit many of them. Most of them are located along a single street hence it is pretty easy to get from one to the next of the houses. Some of the houses got free admission hence I look into a couple of the free admission houses and they are quite nice with a small garden in front of houses and typically a little gate connecting on house or part of a house to the next. These gates are really small and even tiny samurais had to bend down to get through them.
The inside of the houses are fairly empty - they are all made up with tatami mats on the floor and only a few pieces of furniture now and again. There really are not a lot to look at in the inside of the houses.
Some of the
old houses charges an entrance fee - but I glance into a couple of them and can
not see much of a difference from the outside - hence I don’t really think it
is worth paying the entrance fee to go in to these houses when so many of the
other are free of charge - but I might be wrong there could be a reason why
these houses are able to charge an entrance fee.
After leaving the samurai district I go down to the river where there are a row of cherry trees next to the river bed. This row of trees is famous for the blossoming in the spring and should be one of the better places to watch the blooming cherry trees. I wonder a little about what happens to all these cherry blossoms because there are no signs of cherries on the trees and this early in the year the cherries can’t be done - they should still be on the tree. This is a bit of an unsolved mystery for me and I can’t figure out any explanation for it.
At the other end of the cherry trees are a part of town which is home to a little shrine and a few houses I go out towards the shrine and on my way there I get to the Ando Miso/Soy Sauce Brewery which are located in an old house in the city. You can go into the building and have a look for free at a couple of old rooms in the old house. I guess one of the reasons for this is because the other half of the building are dedicated to the sale of the product from the Ando Brewery hence you can get your soy sauce here if you want it. I don’t really need any soy sauce right here and now so I just have a look at the old rooms. Then I head up to the shrine.